There are hundreds of products on the market that claim to improve an individual’s mental and physical performance, but vitamin B12 is a natural performance enhancer that is often overlooked.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for blood circulation and digestion, as well as healthy blood cells and DNA, which converts food into energy. Vitamin B12 is an important component of brain health and also regulates the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that acts as the brain’s “feel good” chemical, which can stave off depression and memory loss.
Though vitamin B12 deficiency is rare, you may be at risk if you:
- Are a strict vegan or vegetarian
- Have intestinal absorption problems
- Are HIV positive
- Are undergoing chemotherapy
- Have undergone weight loss surgery
- Are over the age of 50
Signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, brain shrinkage, delusions, fatigue, hallucinations, memory loss, numbness or tingling in the feet, hands, or legs, and overall weakness. If a vitamin B12 deficiency is severe enough, it could lead to death.
Sources of Vitamin B12
B12 is a common additive in many energy drinks, but it is naturally available in a variety of foods. Some foods that have an abundant supply of vitamin B12 are meats such as bison, chicken, lamb, salmon, tuna, venison, and beef liver. Other food sources include eggs, broccoli, swiss cheese, kale, oatmeal, and spinach. B12 is also available through injections by licensed medical professionals and in over-the-counter nasal sprays and oral supplements.
Though vitamin B12 deficiency can be hard to miss, it is relatively easy to reverse with treatment and/or by eating B12-rich food sources. In getting your recommended daily amounts, you’ll improve your overall health and optimize your mental and physical functioning.